• HeatherJoy Bagnall

Femininity and Leadership: Jesus Was a Feminist

Heather Joy Bagnall


There will never be a single answer for ‘What is the difference between men and women.’ This is an age-old deliberation is illustrated in the story of Deborah, Barak, Jael, and Sisera.

Jael, ‘wife of… provided cream in a majestic bowl… and killed a man with her strong hand’. Contemplating Judges 5:24-26, the play on femininity and womanhood in contrast to the servant leadership of Deborah then the mix of strong hands and the life she was able to take with an ancient tent stake is interesting. This tent stake was not a modern hardened metal piercing a skull but far more likely a wooden tent peg in the working hands of a woman.

A wife, with a majestic cream bowl, killed a soldier with her strong hands. The interplay of femininity and strength is deeply imbued everywhere in the Bible. The stories of women in the Bible are brilliant, beautiful, and bold. Women lead with empathy, courage, faith, humility, and servitude. Women such as Mary, Deborah, Jael, and so many others were not alone in their leadership roles of the time. So how did we end up fighting this patriarchal church induced hurt in 2020?

A male friend and devoted follower of Jesus recently said to me, “the worst hurt in the world is church hurt.” He went on to describe times patriarchy was used to abuse women, children, and men he knew personally. When the church hurts a human it is at the soul level and the church will empty itself out as those who leave will never return. Men like Patrick acknowledge the patriarchal world we live in and welcome women to lead, love, and work without the fear of condescension as Jesus did. Patrick has seen the damage church hurt does to a human and he lives his life to honestly hear those around him and welcome them back to the church family.

Thank you for inspiring my next written chapter. 💕

Shalom, Heather Joy


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